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wedge

wedge, piece of wood or metal thick at one end and sloping to a thin edge at the other; an application of the inclined plane. It is employed in separating two objects from each other or in separating one part of a solid object from an adjoining part, as in splitting wood. The thin edge is applied to the surface of the solid or to the crack between two solids, and force is applied to the opposite thick edge. The ax, chisel, knife, nail, and carpenter's plane are wedges, and the cam is a rotating wedge.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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